The ongoing Kashmir unrest may delay India’s plans of scaling up infrastructure along the disputed India-China border in the sensitive Ladakh sector.
The government on Thursday said issues related to ferrying construction material and equipment to forward areas had hampered works in Ladakh region and would “severely impinge on the completion of strategic roads”. The projects are already years behind schedule.
Of the 73 strategic roads identified for construction along the disputed Line of Actual Control, the defence ministry’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is executing six major projects in Jammu and Kashmir.
The BRO was tasked with building 61 such roads with a total length of 3,417 km in J&K, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim. Only 23 strategic roads have been built. All roads should have been completed four years ago.
Before the unrest, BRO had estimated the remaining roads would take at least four more years to complete. However, it will have to revise its deadlines.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the defence ministry also flagged concerns about several road projects in Kashmir Valley being hit by the unrest. The ministry said the loss of over three months of working season in the summer was a matter of serious concern and the BRO would be unable to meet its targets.
Works in Tangdhar, Anantnag, Kupwara and Bandipora are among the worst affected.
“Endeavours are being made to execute work. But owing to restrictions on movement of vehicles and persons, desired progress could not be made,” the ministry said.
The projects that have been affected include the four-laning of the Srinagar-Baramulla-Uri highway and the handing over of the Sinthan Pass-Anantnag road to the National Highways Authority of India. Damage to the BRO’s vehicles and equipment will also affect ongoing projects, the ministry said.
Availability of labour is another worry. “The majority of the non-local labourers from the Valley have moved out of the state due to continuous disturbance,” the ministry said.